The United States announced visa restrictions against an official of the People’s Republic of China for involvement in gross violations of human rights, in particular, the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners due to their spiritual beliefs. Yu Hui, former Office Director of the so-called “Central Leading Group on Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions” of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was barred from entry into the United States, along with his immediate family members.
The announcement was made May 12, just as the State Department published its annual report on religious freedom around the world. In its section on the PRC, the State Department noted that authorities reportedly arrested more than 7,000 Falun Gong members over the past year, and many were subjected to severe abuse.
Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of religious persecution by Beijing, as Daniel Nadel, the State Department’s senior official for the Office of International Religious Freedom, explained at the report’s release.
“We also cannot look away from the ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide the Chinese government is perpetrating against Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. This can be seen as the culmination of decades of repression of religious adherents, from Tibetan Buddhists to Christians, to Falun Gong practitioners.”
Mr. Nadel noted that the PRC government stopped denying outright its targeting of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. Instead, the PRC shifted to the false defense that its horrific treatment of the population, including turning the entire region into what Mr. Nadel described as “an open-air prison,” is necessary for security reasons.
“Of course, the world isn’t buying it. We see quite clearly what it is. What it is is an attempt to erase a people, a history, a culture from the Earth, and that’s unacceptable.”
Over the past year, the United States responded to the abuse of the Chinese people’s fundamental human rights, including their right to religious freedom, through a variety of means.
“The United States,” Senior State Department Official Nadel said, “is committed to using all available tools, both positive and punitive, to advance this universal right. For the many people and communities around the world whose stories fill this report, our message today is clear: We see you, we hear you, and we will not rest until you are free to live your lives in dignity and in peace.”